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June 13, 2017

This bread from Bake In Space will truly be out of this world — literally

by John_A

Why it matters to you

Astronauts haven’t had bread in space in decades, but the Bake In Space program could revolutionize their dietary habits.

Carbs are already our best friends, but a new kind of bread could be out of this world — literally.

We’re talking, of course, about a new experiment known as Bake In Space, described as a “specially devised dough with a microgravity oven” which could result in history’s first loaf of bread baked in orbit.

The project, which was first introduced in October, has plans make crumb-free German rolls aboard the International Space Station in 2018. In February, the company plans on delivering its oven and dough, and making final preparations for launch, by next June, the hope is to have the bread baking away in an oven above our atmosphere.

“In order to improve astronauts’ well-being on long-duration missions such as on a Moon base or on Mars, food plays an essential key role,” the Bake In Space team notes on its website. “Besides a source for nutrition, the smell of fresh bread evokes memories of general happiness and is an important psychological factor. It is a symbol of recreational time and procedure down on Earth.”

For years, astronauts have been subjected to freeze-dried packets of food, which while nutritionally satisfying, are not always the most appetizing things to eat. As the New Scientist reports — they managed to smuggle a corned beef sandwich onboard. So what is the big deal about no bread? It is the crumbs, you see. With all those tiny particles floating about, bread can actually cause fires if they get into electrical panels. Currently, tortillas are considered the safe alternative to bread.

But now, Bake In Space, alongside the German Aerospace Centre and food scientists from a number of other research organizations, are looking to create a recipe for a crumb-free bread that is also tasty. Part of the solution could also lie in the oven itself. As Matthias Boehme of OHB System AG, a company that develops equipment for use in space, told the New Scientist, “The solution is an oven with a small volume that retains heat well.”

Boehme also considered vacuum baking, which involves lowering the pressure inside a sealed oven. “According to our baking experts, the process would also make bread rolls more fluffy,” he said.

If the experiments prove successful, some of the crumb-free bread dough (and its resulting bread) could even be brought back down to Earth, so we can try eating like astronauts. Either way, we are clearly taking, as the Bake In Space team said, “Baking where nobody baked before.”

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